Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O mankind!) He means the people of Mecca. (A similitude is coined) He has explained the likeness of your deities, (so pay ye heed to it) and respond: (Lo! those on whom ye call beside Allah) of idols (will never create a fly) they will never be able to create a fly (though they) the worshipped and the worshippers (combine together for the purpose) they will not be able to create a fly. (And if the fly took something) like honey with which are sullied for example (from them) from the deities, (they could not rescue it from it) the deities would not be able to take it back from the fly. (So weak are (both) the seeker) i.e. the deity (and the sought) and the fly! It is also said that this means: so weak are both that which is worshipped and the worshipper.
O mankind, that is to say, [O] people of Mecca, a similitude is being struck, so listen to it, and it is that: truly those on whom you call, [whom] you worship, besides God, that is, other than Him, and these are the idols, will never create a fly (dhubāb is a generic noun, the singular of which is dhubāba, for both the masculine and the feminine) even if they rallied together to do so, to create it. And if a fly should take away something from them, [such as a drop] of the scents or the saffron in which they drench themselves, they would not be able to recover that from it, because of their [complete] incapacity: so how can they worship those [whom they suppose to be] partners of God, exalted be He? An odd thing — which He has expressed by striking a similitude. Feeble is the seeker, the worshipper, and the [thing] sought, the [thing] worshipped!
(Verily, those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose.) Even if all the idols and false gods whom you worship were to come together to create a single fly, they would not be able to do that. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah recorded the Marfu` report:
("Who does more wrong than one who tries to create something like My creation Let them create an ant or a fly or a seed like My creation!'') This was also recorded by the authors of the Two Sahihs via `Umarah from Abu Zur`ah from Abu Hurayrah, who said that the Prophet said: a
(And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly.) They are unable to create a single fly and, moreover, they are unable to resist it or take revenge against it if it were to take anything from the good and perfumed thing on which it lands. If they wanted to recover that, they would not be able to, even though the fly is the weakest and most insignificant of Allah's creatures. Allah says:
ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ
(So weak are the seeker and the sought.) Ibn `Abbas said, "The seeker is the idol and the sought is the fly.'' This was the view favored by Ibn Jarir, and it is what is apparent from the context. As-Suddi and others said, "The seeker is the worshipper, and the sought is the idol.'' Then Allah says:
مَا قَدَرُواْ اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ
(They have not regarded Allah with His rightful esteem.) meaning, they have not recognized the might and power of Allah when they wor- ship alongside Him those who cannot even ward off a fly, because they are so weak and incapable.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
(Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.) means, He is the All-Strong Who, by His might and power, created all things.
(Verily, Allah is the Provider, Owner of power, the Most Strong.) 51:58.
(All-Mighty) means, He has subjugated and subdued all things, and there is none that can resist Him or overcome His might and power, and He is the One, the Subduer.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This parable has been cited to impress upon the idol-worshipers that their deities are absolutely powerless, for even if they all collaborated to create an insignificant thing like a fly, they could not; nay, even if a fly snatched away anything from them they could not prevent it. This shows how weak they themselves are and how powerless are the idols they supplicate.